Movie Review: Tall Man Riding (1955)
“His Guns Put Little River On The Map… And His Guns Could Wipe It Off!”
Director: Lesley Selander
Cast: Randolph Scott, Dorothy Malone, Peggie Castle
Synopsis: A man returns to his hometown seeking vengeance against the father of his former fiancee who ran him out of town years before.
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Randolph Scott (Riding Shotgun, The Bounty Hunter) returns to his home town to get him some revenge over the wonderfully named Tuck Ordway (Robert Barrat – American Empire, Bad Men of Tombstone), the father of his former fiancée (Dorothy Malone – The Big Sleep, Warlock) who ran him out of town five years before. Wonderfully named saloon owner Cibo Pearlo (John Baragrey) also has a score to settle with Ordway, but he’s just as bad in Randy’s eyes, so the offer of an alliance is rejected with a shot of whiskey in Pearlo’s face. However, as Randy’s plot starts to come together, he begins to realise things aren’t quite as clear cut as he thought.
Tall Man Riding is another typical mid-1950s Randolph Scott Western. His character is basically the same as every other character he played in these films – the clean-cut good guy. Back in the 1950s Scott seemed to be his own cottage industry, churning out an instantly recognisable – and reliable – product, untouched or unconcerned by any changes that might be happening elsewhere in the industry. He’s joined here by Dorothy Malone, who doesn’t really add a lot, and is easily outshone by Peggie Castle as a saloon girl with a heart of gold. There’s also a gunslinger, the terribly named The Peso Kid (Paul Richards – All the Young Men, The Over-the-Hill Gang Rides Again) who doesn’t say a lot, but is a thoroughly bad egg.
Tall Man Riding is tolerable enough entertainment; simple and undemanding, following a tried and trusted formula whereby we are treated to an action set piece every ten minutes or so. It has some neat touches, and it’s clear that a little more care has been taken with this one than was usually devoted to the average B-movie.
(Reviewed 4th January 2012)